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Towing of unregistered vehicles ordered despite COVID-19 waiver

Posted at 8:30 PM, Dec 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-01 23:45:57-05

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The day after Thanksgiving brought an unwelcome surprise for several residents at The Garden townhome complex.

“Me and my husband went out and saw the sticker -- the green sticker — and we were wondering, ‘What is this?’ a resident who didn’t want her identity revealed over fear of retaliation said.

The green sticker on the couple’s car said their registration was out of date putting it in violation of the complex's policies.

The sticker gave them seven days to renew their registration or their car would be towed.

“To me it was just short notice,” the unidentified resident said. "If the state is allowing for us to drive right now with this COVID without registration, I don’t see why the complex doesn’t waive that as well.”

The resident was referring to Gov. Greg Abbott waiving vehicle registration requirements during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Law enforcement officers are not to ticket drivers for expired vehicle registrations over fears that going to the Department of Motor Vehicles for renewals could bring them in contact with the novel coronavirus.

The waiver does not apply to private entities like homowners associations, and The Garden Homeowners Association did not voluntarily follow Governor Abbott’s lead in relaxing registration requirements.

The president of the homeowners association Dina Trevino refused a formal interview, but she said the board can make changes to its policies if residents voice concerns.

She said the board has not received any complaints about the tow notices that were issued Friday.

A former board member and current The Garden resident thinks the board should have waived the registration requirement as soon as the governor issued his order.

“The board that I served on, I’m fairly certain that we would have exempted the homeowners from this,” Augustine Leija said.

Leija also took issue with the property management company for The Garden, PMI Corpus Christi, putting the tow notice stickers on the cars so close to a holiday.

“The fact that it happened the day after Thanksgiving was kind of upsetting,” Leija said. "I didn’t think that was a good timing.”

PMI Corpus Christi President Jason Wendt also refused a formal interview, but he said the reason the tow notice stickers went out when they did was because he received complaints from residents about the unregistered vehicles the two days prior.

With just four days remaining until towing can begin, the resident who wanted her identity concealed wants PMI or the HOA to change the registration requirement.

“I mean I hope they consider being more lenient,” she said. "And if they do want us to get this done, I guess give us more time."